Bali Tourism Watch: Cultural Tourism & Alternative

By : I Made Ardana Putra,
Business Administration Study Program Bali State Polytechnic


Bali has developed cultural tourism. It does not mean that tourism which has not related in cultural, could not be developed as long as it does not break the Balinese Hindu Tradition. One of the alternatives tourism is called eco-tourism. It could be as complementary attraction, the distribution and quality of the tourist, and global trend.

Actually, in Bali eco-tourism has already as an integral part of the cultural tourism. Eco-tourism included on everyday life of Balinese. There are (a) mentifact means human being as an integral part of the natural, (b) socifact means always keeping the balance of the natural and the diversity of biological resources, (c) artifact includes the natural resources such as Jati Luwih Terrace, National Park in Negara, White Cows in Taro. And there are many other things.

The industries have already managed tour programs such as ECO Cycling Tour and Cooking Lesson & Rural Charm Tour in Gulingan Mengwi Vilagge, Coral Nursery in Singaraja, etc. One of the potentials eco-tourism is marine tourism that is lack of attention from the government. Up to now there is no rule for marine tourism. On socializing it must be done such as academic studies, stakeholder orientation, and succeed stories from somebody who has worked professionally on it.
Key words: cultural tourism, alternative eco-tourism and region of vacation destination.

I. Preface
Now, Bali has called for and developed cultural tourism, the concept has been formulated since 1971 on the entitled Bali Cultural Tourism Seminar. The model is a tourism paradigm that is wanted to develop. The measure is absolutely bright, as the culture is the greatest appeal that is possessed by this region. It’s understandable that how importance the role of culture is for tourism. The culture is not only for being lived for but it functions as a tool to understand each other and respect among nations. Numerous products and society behaviors that originate to Bali values succeed in making the well-known territory in the world.

Even if, finally the tourism umbrella is called for as ‘Cultural Tourism’, therefore it does not mean that others beyond “Cultural” cannot be developed, as long as the development is not upside down with the available Hindu Cultural Concepts and existing in Bali. One of the alternatives in developing the tourism is called eco-tourism. According to Pitana (2002:4) eco-tourism can be as complementary, distribution to whole Bali and increasing tourist quality, and has become a global trend that has gained respond as eco-tourism.

The eco-tourism has become national issues, firstly since Pact-Indonesia and Walhi performed the National Seminar and Workshop in 1995 in Bogor, Western Java. On that program, the function formulas have been resulted, which the local community must be on maximal involved proportionally in the planning and management. The Bogor spirit inspires the attention of many blocks from NGO (Non-Government Organization), Tourism Industries, University Research Institutes, community and government quarters. Bali contributes as a center of Indonesian Eco-tourism Development, as in 1996 The National Workshop II was ever presented in this territory that resulted in an Indonesian Eco-tourism Community Forum (IES). The membership of IES is increasing from year to year; even the forum of national level is continuously undertaken from one region to another.

Plenty of scientific analyses have been performed such as seminar and discussion forum, resulting many policies. For example, Udayana University as the oldest university in Bali through Tourism and Cultural Research Center did not pass up the chance to undertake the regional seminar entitled “Eco-tourism” several months ago. Politeknik Negri Bali (PNB) is actively involved in scientific discussion and activities that have been undertaken by IES over the last several years. Due to his high mobility, Ida Bagus Sanjaya, S.E., MM (now Director of PNB) is trusted as IES DPP Manager, the result of national forum last year in Ujung Pandang. The same goes for some tourism education institutes are involved in these reviews, included the news sources frequently releasing the strategic issues in relating to eco-tourism. The products of eco-tourism review in Indonesia are generally still countable since it has been exposed in 1990s up to the end of this year; its development is quite slow. Whereas, the number of products are supposed to be on the increase, if it is seen from its potential aspect.

There are some indicators why the eco-tourism is revealed unable yet to develop as the expectation of tourists. According to the IES chairman Sudarto (1999:11) says there is no basically the government guidelines that eco-tourism can motivate or as a subject of nature preservation. Secondly, the understanding of stakeholder (government) is still low as motivator as well as implementation. Thirdly, the doubt still exists over this concept, which can be made out of sustainable economy activities and developing community.

II. Understanding and Concept
2.1. Eco-Tourism Etymology
Many terms have come up and related to change endeavor in the field of tourism industries, likewise, alternative tourism, nature tourism, responsible tourism and special interest. The terms of eco-tourism on Sudarto (1999:13) is a terminology that is considered the appropriate one, because the meaning and commitment are supposedly very obvious over the nature preservation and developing community. The eco-tourism derives from eco-logical, economical and evaluating community opinion. If translated into Indonesian it turns out to be;

a. Ecology is as resources and the appeal of eco-tourism, and it positively contributes toward natural preservation effort.

b. Economy is eco-tourism that becomes sustainable economy activity.

c.And Interest evaluation and community opinion. Eco-tourism is possessing consideration toward raising community involvement, and community development giving contributions toward natural preservation effort.

So far there has not been a suitable term in translating the eco-tourism terminology into Indonesian. Some translate it into ecological tourism and others translate it into eco-tourism, as the briefest and the best terminology to hear. The eco-tourism terminology is actually not fulfilling the norm of appropriate Indonesian language; the right standard should be tourism-eco.

The definition of eco-tourism that is used for international standard like being used by NEAP, and EAA, that is: “ ecological sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that foster environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation”. (Crabtree et all, 2002; 4).

There at least 3 lines in viewing the eco-tourism. The 3 lines are correlated to the point of view that is still different with the meaning of eco-tourism. Based on the result of world eco-tourism summit 2002 in Quebec is divided into 3 lines:

a. First line, they fight for eco-tourism to avoid environmental degradation, for the environment itself at all costs the environment must be preserved.

b.Secondly, they fight for eco-tourism and environmental preservation, not for the environment, but it’s all for the survival of economic growth and cultivating capital. The climax of this group is saving environmental preservation for eco-tourism. Just with the guaranteed of environmental quality could be also as an accommodation for natural resources.

c.The third line is emphasizing the cooperation on society interest and development. This line comes from critical thought over who is actually eligible for these natural resources. From then on who sets down, plans, organizes and shares the role and the further process.

2.2. Natural Tourism in the Eco-tourism
If eco-tourism is made out of tourism industry to preserve habitats and species, therefore, it’s necessarily paid attention to what the tourists have done, is not what the motivation is. Whatever is done in the tourism territory will have effect upon the environment and ecosystem. The management, therefore, is much easier to decide whether the process fulfills the criteria or not. The eco-tourism must be set apart from natural tourism. According to Goodwin (1997:123) an expert from Kent University in England said the natural tourism related to the comfort of enjoying the nature, while eco-tourism pursued more conditions on natural preservation.

A similar opinion comes from Boo (1992:19) that is the natural tourism journey that prompts preservation and sustainable development, the mixture between preservation and economy development, providing environmental education. Based on the definition, the eco-tourism protects and manages the natural habitat at the same time. Another aspect that cannot be ignored is economy.

These tourism activities are definitely profitable especially in the protected territory. Through the arrival of eco-tourism it can bring in the fund management, preserving natural habitats and species. From the incoming contribution it can hire guides, accommodations and information. Other benefits, the community is able to live for the economic benefits either trickle down effect or multi flier effect toward the community. So the community will be more optimal to maintain it. It’s imaginable, if community is against this territory, it will not last any longer. In case the future of community can be guaranteed from eco-tourism, so without being ordered they will do protection and avoid the vandalism. The same goes for if it is seen possessing good prospect, so the community is not in doubt to invest their capital.

For preservers and territory managers, before being managed by tourism industries, they have to call for the activities that fulfill the eco-tourism criteria. These activities must have a little effect upon the environmental damages. The industries have to intently and accurately guarantee the tourist management. Whatever it is, the most important thing is the motivation of arrival. Their activities must be strongly controlled and capitalized on.

III The Potency of Eco-tourism in Bali
Before touching upon the potency that is owned by Bali, it’d better deal with eco-tourism that has been developed. Based on the classification that is identified by IES that there are 61 regions considered potential as eco-tourism destination region (EDR). Some popular EDR such as: Sumatera (Way Kambas, Bukit Barisan), Sulawesi (Bunaken, Dumoga Bone), Java (Bromo Tengger, Ujung Kulon), NTB (Komodo, Tambora), Maluku (Banda Coral Sea) and Bali hide high potency that is easily developed.

Some activities have been conducted in an effort to develop eco-tourism activities in this island. Wisnu foundation by the fund aid of Kehati foundation and others pioneer eco-tourism at some villages in Bali. Sua Bali improves small accommodation as a developing place of cultural communication by improving the community. Agung Prana and his friends stretch together with Pemuteran society to save the coral reef. Alas Kedaton tries to establish the forest with its monkeys and bats to attract tourists. Dalem (2002:4) describes that there are still many, businessmen, NGO, Government institutions, educational institutes, and individual, stepping forward and implementing the tourism concept alternative that is called eco-tourism.

In Bali, eco-tourism can be viewed from variety of aspects:
a.The first aspect examines the philosophy aspect and socio-cultural that belongs to the culture of Bali.

b.The second aspect concerns to potential eco-tourism that has been or not well and professionally worked on yet.

3.1. Philosophy Review
The eco-tourism in Bali in the substantial way has been actually genuine, original and has been together in the natural tourism resources (2002:4). Cultural tourism, in fact, relates to whole system of community likewise, the beauty of landscape, farming in the broad sense as strengthening. The potency of eco-tourism concerns:

a.Value system as Mentifact is interpreting the nature: The human is an integral part of the universe. The nature is affirmed as Kamadhuk (milk cow), human is obligated to take care of the earth and having a right to collect its milk; torturing cow is same as suicide. The written concept in Tri Hita Karana is creating the harmony. Kertamasa system alternates rice planting period with crop plantation to break off the cycle of rice pest.

b.Social system as Socifact with the existence of Pakraman village and traditional sub-village, irrigation traditional organization (Subak), members and sacred sacrificial rites that is always aimed at maintaining the nature equilibrium and biological divergence resource. With some sacred ceremonies such as Tumpek Bubuh, and Tumpek Kandang indicating the form of sacrifice for the welfare of nature (Buthahita) is also a genuine wisdom.

c.Symbol system, text, nature outline, building that is called as artifact relating to Jati Luwih area, National Park in Western Bali, Bedugul, Bali Aga Village, White Cows in Taro, Irrigation (Subak) Museum, Empelan, Oongan Dam and there are other many things.

3.2. Potential aspect that has been or not worked on yet
To anticipate the tediousness, so that potential aspect must be necessarily prepared earlier. There have been many space conducted by tourism industry in anticipating the tediousness. For example; western Bali in Pemuteran bay conducts the coral nursery development, in Central Bali conducts ECO cycling tour and cooking lesson and rural charm tour at Gulingan Village in Mengwi, Southern Bali through the protection of turtle in Benoa and Eastern Bali conducts reef preservation and fishery protection in Tulamben.

The statement of Pantja (2002:appendix 1) describing how Pemuteran Village in Western Bali increases the coral nursery, this territory belongs to Grokgak district in Singaraja by using technology that is guided by Dr. Tom Goerau and Prof. Wolf Hilbertz. Acting as donators are the businessmen who are classified succeed in Bali traveling world. By setting up Karang Lestari foundation to watch the coral nursery project and new project development namely open sea fishery farm. Foundation arranger arranges technology and fund raising. If, someday, it has begun productive (bringing in a lot of money), therefore, it will fully become the village’s possession to be looked after. As these activities are purely performed by, from and for the village itself. From then on, in related to eco-tourism in Pemuteran, Pantja describes the village condition in the entitled writing “ tourism and Pemuteran” as follow;

Every year the quality of the diving became better and with it the increase in tourism and the resulting services. Once one of the poorest areas in Bali, over the years one could easily see how this income from eco-tourism had positive effects on the life style and health of local villagers. One of the earliest goals of the two business was to set limits on development to avoid the degradation of the environment often seen in other areas of Bali.

One of the alternatives that have not been seriously worked on is marine tourism development. During these times, Pitana (2002:5) says the development of this kind of tourism is still left far behind. The excellent superiority of tourism is very ’eco’ so far it has been never heard that divers and snorkeling will destroy the coral reef. Up to this moment there is no rules yet that a region is in control of the marine tourism. Diparda Bali and its line have tried to achieve the rules that is endeed being waited by industry and community.

Besides, marine tourism the Western Bali National Park Territory (WBPT can be directed to this direction. If it is utilized for tourism activities, therefore the surrounding community will get the economy benefit. So they directly gain the motivation to maintain the preservation dynamically, if the community doesn’t get any benefit from those objects, then it’s absolutely difficult to expect them to maintain it. It’s very often the woods stealing happening in this region and can be said as no good indicator that the community is not yet actively participating and (probably) don’t get anything from that protected area.

IV The Reflection of Eco-tourism Development
If it is seen from Bali development based on culture that is popularized by Bagus (1992), then the third line that characterizes to stand by the ideal community to develop. Involving the community means they will get the meaning of eco-tourism. Without respecting their meaning, then the facilities and tourism industry that is built with big investment will be in vain at all. Moreover, nowadays is the reformation era based on democratization, people are given freedom to think and convey the opinions, which is now exactly different then the formerly times.

To accelerate its development, so it needs to do deeper studies and academics as it’s realized that the approach method in every region will be different. It’s necessary to carry out socialization process to stake holder to equate the perception and comprehensive understanding. Other step that is certainly taken is spreading the success stories of institutes/management either in or outside the country. The success covers how the eco-tourism directly affects the nature preservation and increasing the welfare of surrounding community.

V Conclusion
Bali has called for the tourism umbrella namely ‘cultural tourism’ and it does not mean that beyond “cultural” cannot be developed. As long as the development is not upside down with Hindu Cultural Concept that existing in the community. One of the alternatives in increasing the tourism called Eco-tourism. The eco-tourism can be complementary, fairly distributing to whole Bali, increasing the tourist quality, and has become a global trend that has gained respond as eco-tourism.

The eco-tourism in this region in the substantial way has been genuine, original and has been together in the natural tourism resources relating to whole life system of community likewise the beauty of landscape, and agricultural in the brad sense as strengthening. The possessed potency relates to the value system as:
a.Mentifact interpreting the nature, human being as an integral part of the universe.

b.Socifact by the existence of traditional village and sub-village, traditional irrigation (Subak) organization, members and sacrifice rites aim at maintaining the nature equilibrium and the resources of biological divergence.

c.Artifact covers the nature such as Jati Luwih, Bali West National Park, Bali Aga Village, White Cows at Taro, Subak Museum, Empelan, Oongan Dam and there are many other things.

There have been many spaces done by tourism industry to anticipate this tediousness. For instance: West Bali at Pemuteran Bay is done coral nursery development, Central Bali is held ECO cycling tour and cooking lesson and rural charm tour at Gulingan Village Mengwi, South Bali through turtle protection at Benoa and fishery at Tulamben. One of the alternatives that are not seriously carried out yet is the development of marine tourism. Up to now, there has not been any local regulation yet that manages the marine tourism.

The most suitable eco-tourism that is applied is one-sided to community. By involving the community means giving the meaning. Without respecting the meaning of community, so the facilities and industries that have been built with big investment will be useless at all. In socializing it, therefore it needs to do more academic studies, given to stake holder to equate the perception and the step of spreading the success stories of management that is either in or outside the country.


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Boo, Elizabeth. 1990. Eco-tourism: The Potential and Pitfalls, Volume I and II.
Washington DC: WWF.

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Goodwin, Harold. 1997. Terrestrial Eco-tourism on Planning Sustainable
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Sudarto, Gatot.1999.Eco-tourism: Nature preservation media, Sustainable
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One thought on “Bali Tourism Watch: Cultural Tourism & Alternative

  1. abril says:

    nice article…
    tapi menurut saya kok bukan hanya Bali yang bisa dipayungi sebagai ‘cultural tourism’, tapi juga pariwisata indonesia secara keseluruhan bisa dikategorikan sebagai cultural tourism, karena memang budaya yang selalu menjadi daya tarik utamanya 🙂

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